And what about a name?
“We ran the West Coast before,” said Coach Mike Shanahan. “Well, this is the East Coast” offense.
Whatever it’s called, it’s working so far. The Redskins enter Sunday’s game in Tampa against the Buccaneers ranked first in the NFL in scoring offense, having averaged 33 points per outing in their first three games. They’re sixth in total offense, based on yards gained, and second in rushing offense, thanks in large part to Griffin’s contributions as a runner as well as a passer.
“Regardless of who we play,” Black said, “if we run this offense right, it’s pretty much unstoppable.”
The Redskins’ system has ingredients of the spread offense seen commonly in college football; the college-based option running game that puts the ball in Griffin’s hands to keep, hand off or pitch out; the pistol, a variation of the shotgun formation, also with its origins in the college game; the West Coast passing game so popular throughout the NFL; and the zone blocking scheme and stretch running plays that Shanahan-coached teams have employed with great success, as when the Denver Broncos were winning Super Bowls with Terrell Davis at tailback.
“It’s a blend of a lot of different things,” Shanahan said. “We tried to take a look at what Robert does best within our system and try to incorporate a few other variables that he enjoys and he feels confident in. And then you just keep on growing as you grow together.”
The system is derivative of many offenses but identical to none of them, at least not at all times.
“You study people, whether it’s college or whether it’s pro teams who do that type of stuff,” Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. “The pro tapes we’ve had — it’s been Carolina. It’s been Denver. Buffalo has done a little bit in the past. Tennessee did some back when they had [quarterback Vince Young]. So you go back and try to study all that stuff. Then you study the college stuff and you see schemes try to defend it.”
The Redskins incorporated what Griffin did in college at Baylor, where he was the Heisman Trophy winner last season. Black said he never has witnessed an NFL offense exactly like it.
“This is the first time, at least that I’ve seen it,” Black said. “I mean, the whole option part of our offense, obviously Carolina does it. Denver did some of it when they had [quarterback Tim] Tebow. But I don’t think the combination of this West Coast, bootleg, wide zone-type thing has ever existed. I could be wrong.”